Thunderbird 1.0 Comes with RSS
December 8, 2004 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Thunderbird 1.0 has RSS support integrated The release of Thunderbird 1.0 was covered yesterday, however nowhere in the thread was the new RSS integration mentioned. I'm now viewing MeFi in my email client, complete with all of the sort/search features that I depend on for my email, and that's pretty sweet.
posted by mcstayinskool (39 comments total)
So, uh, why didn't you add this to yesterday's thread?
posted by louie at 7:25 AM on December 8, 2004

Because a nice RSS reader is something most MeFis should probably be interested in, and posting the 48th comment on yesterday's thread doesn't exactly get that message out.

Incremental releases of Mozilla products, even when hitting 1.0, I don't find incredibly interesting. But the RSS feature is a big addition.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:29 AM on December 8, 2004

I think this is worth posting! I'm trying it now.
posted by inksyndicate at 7:32 AM on December 8, 2004

Coo! I'm so glad I know about this now. Twice, too!

posted by bonaldi at 7:33 AM on December 8, 2004

You guys should really give the post critiquing a rest. It's getting very old.

As for this, I'm interested. Are people using TB1.0 as a serious news reader? mcstayinskool, how does it compare to some of the more popular readers already out there?

I'm still looking for a good news reader myself. Something about bloglines just bothers me.
posted by nixerman at 8:14 AM on December 8, 2004

That's pretty neat. The search/sort features are cool. I use Sage, for Firefox, at work, but I'm giving Thunderbird a spin at home.
posted by C.Batt at 8:24 AM on December 8, 2004

Who fucking cares? I wouldn't have read the original post on Thunderbird, but this is useful.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:39 AM on December 8, 2004

Thank you, inksyndicate. I'm crawling back into my hidey-hole now.

Note to self: never, ever post to Metafilter again.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:44 AM on December 8, 2004

W.r.t. news aggregation clients: I think the idea is cool, and I can see the attraction of managing it through the email client -- I'm a big fan of email, still (it's just proven, dammit), and email clients are one of those things that people get intimate with, without ever realizing it, and anyway, RSS probably *will* (in *spite* of the hype) start to fill some of the roles that spam is making less viable for email, and [inhale]....

... anyway, I agree with inksyndicate: It's not something that likely would have been noticed as post 53 in a thread, and for me, it raises much more interesting questions than most of the stuff on the front page right now. E.g.: What will happen to email in the era of spam? What will RSS mutate into? What new and interesting ways can we find to route around browsers, and is that a good, bad, or neutral thing?
posted by lodurr at 8:50 AM on December 8, 2004

Note to self: never, ever post to Metafilter again.

Note to self: it would have been better suited for that thread. The fact that you just had to get the message out does not mean that MeFi is a personal soapbox.

I don't know why people are finding it surprising that more posts are being criticized, when more inexperienced posters are posting. It's a learning curve, deal with it.
posted by adampsyche at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2004

mcstayinskool - Don't go anywhere, and don't stop posting. But take what's being said in good faith and try again. Though I'm a n00b, I think this wasn't a very good FPP, but I could critique the original Tbird FPP by saying it could have mentioned the RSS support if it had been properly researched. Or maybe a product announcement thread is better suited to betanews or slashdot. So, I'm criticizing both threads.

Anyway, in a more formal environment, this structure is called peer review (or maybe peer pressure). While it sucks to be thrashed by the community, 99% of the people here are decent, intelligent folks who are trying to maintain a community, and if their comments are harsh, maybe they don't want this to turn into another

adampsyche is right: it's a learning curve.

Now, to the grizzled veterans, I'd say maybe we need a start guide for new users. Maybe a sandbox for noobs to learn FPPing until either a certain amount of time has passed or we're sponsored by a current member... I dunno.

FWIW, the repost FPP of the cartoon skeletons is waaaaaayyy more annoying than this. :)
posted by socratic at 9:17 AM on December 8, 2004

Note: This is a serious question and not meant as a snark.

I'm just curious but why would I want to read RSS feeds in my email client when I can bookmark a group of tabs in Mozilla and just load those up with one click? From there I can pretty much access any info I need. Is there something I'm missing by not having RSS feeds sent to me via email? Is this more of a "because you can" type of thing or is there an advantage I'm missing out on?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:20 AM on December 8, 2004

Are there RSS feeds for AskMefi and MetaTalk?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:20 AM on December 8, 2004

On reflection, and after reading KevinSkomsvold's post, actually, this thread is, in fact, more useful than the previous Tbird thread, because it does raise that interesting question of "Why an RSS reader in the mail client?"

So, on topic: I don't think the RSS implementation in either Firefox or Thunderbird is very good, mainly because I want a small, unobtrusive window sitting on my desktop for my "important feeds" and I've got bloglines for everything else. Anyway, I thought the whole idea of nextgen Mozilla (e.g., firefox, thunderbird, sunbird) was to modularize the components and get away from the monolithic app. Wouldn't a Mozilla RSS reader be more appropriate?
posted by socratic at 9:25 AM on December 8, 2004

... modularize the components and get away from the monolithic app.

Well, I think that originally that would have been what this did. If I recall correctly (and I might not), this feature was originally designed as an extension, not as a core feature.

There are probably times it's going to make more sense to see it as a browser-style view, and times it's goint to make more sense to see it in an email style view. What would be ideal, is if you could view the same offline aggregation datastore through either a browser-centric or email-centric view.

All that having been said, I've never warmed up to offline aggregators. I just end up working too many different places where I can't get my own laptop onto the net -- I tend to need my services to live on the net, so I can get to them from arbitary systems.

Now, all that having been said, there is at least as much buzz now as there was 6 or 8 months ago about the idea of RSS (or syndication in general) "replacing" email. This could be seen as either an effort by the Tbird team to put their baby on the bleeding edge, or an experiment to see what people do with that notion, or both. If it doesn't get in the way (and it doesn't seem to, I barely noticed the feature was there), then what's the harm.
posted by lodurr at 9:37 AM on December 8, 2004

Have all you f'ing morons forgotten what METATALK is for? If you want to criticize any post, criticize it to your heart's content - OUTSIDE OF THE BLUE. Now go to hell all of you assholes.
posted by PigAlien at 9:40 AM on December 8, 2004

Socratic, mucho appreciado on both of your posts...still in hidey-hole, but peeking out now

Your second post was the discussion I was aiming to have, not a "hey, look how cool Thunderbird is" or "look how stupid FPP's are".

KevinSkomsvold: I typically access everything I read in just this way--a big tab group in Firefox/Mozilla. What the RSS feed into the email client does for me is enables a quick scan of what's been posted to MeFi that day. Seriously, how many times a day do you hit reload on metafilter? Ever see those big cats at the zoo that just pace back and forth all day? That's the way I feel with my reload addiction...

But, socratic, you are probably right that this is against the modularization idea of current Mozilla offerings. It's just that RSS fits so nicely into the mold of the way email clients handle things...I've been so totally unimpressed with all RSS readers until this one.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2004

nixerman: I've been using Thunderbird as my main usenet newsfroup reader for a good while now. I find it actually easier to use for just perusing news than Agent, though I haven't used many other newsreaders in my day. I still kinda miss rn, to be honest.

There are a few problems with it though, though a lot of these I encountered in previous versions, they may not be an issue in the newest version.

- When setting up a .sig, it looks like you can just type a one line sig into the box and hit OK. That doesn't work, you MUST have the sig in a file, and reference the file. However, no error message tells you this, your sig just doesn't work.

- On posting, it doesn't like to do the 72 character linewrap itself, or at least it didn't before. It's become habit to hit "Edit->Rewrap" every time before I post to make sure my posts don't come out looking like crap.

- It's filtering leaves much to be desired, though I've found that most do. An anti-spam newsfroup that I read is suffering from a major flood, yet Thunderbird only seems to be able to filter on Subject:, From:, and Date:, none of which do any good at all. Agent doesn't seem to be able to filter on NNTP-Posting-Host: or Path: either, which is what I need.

News support in Thunderbird definitely takes a big back seat to the mail part of it, but you could definitely do much, much worse. I mean, you could be using Outlook.
posted by Swervo at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2004

maybe we need a start guide for new users. Maybe a sandbox for noobs to learn FPPing until either a certain amount of time has passed or we're sponsored by a current member

I think its' probably fine the way it is now. Don't go looking for things to post, and don't post unless you feel confident it's worthy. if you don't, people will give you crap.

the thing that amazes me is all of these folks who've been registered for 2 weeks and they're already posting. i guess if it were up to me metafilter wouldn't be terribly active - but i've been a member since 2001 and I've only made 8 FPPs. And my first one was 6 months after I'd gotten registered. (and it sucked.)
posted by glenwood at 9:53 AM on December 8, 2004

I am a doofus. I got RSS working in Thunderbird, but I cannot find any description here of where the RSS feed of MF comes from.
posted by Mur at 9:58 AM on December 8, 2004

Seriously, how many times a day do you hit reload on metafilter?

So much that I've trained a small rodent to hop up & down on my F5 key.

The whole RSS feed thing is cool in concept but I'm more in line with lodurr:

"What would be ideal, is if you could view the same offline aggregation datastore through either a browser-centric or email-centric view."

Everthing integrated in one space (email or browser) would be the cat's pajamas. I know some third party apps come close but the RSS readers I've used, seem to just be another thing to get in the way. I'll still check out the Thunderbird thing though.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:01 AM on December 8, 2004

As a big fan of Usenet, I get confused when people call RSS Aggregators "news readers". It doesn't help that Thunderbird can is both.

So can anybody explain to me the practical difference between RSS, RDF and Atom? This one's been stumping me since I recently hopped on the Feed Readin' Bandwagon. Does the new Thunderbird support all three?
posted by Eamon at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2004

Mur: that little xml icon along the right side of metafilter has the link. It is
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2004

I am a doofus. I found it...
posted by Mur at 10:04 AM on December 8, 2004

It doesn't help that Thunderbird can do both.
posted by Eamon at 10:04 AM on December 8, 2004

Actually, you all want chaos, I'll give you chaos. I use Outlook for email, because (non sequitur) it's got a great calendar function. I use Thunderbird for newsgroups, because I have a boner for Mozilla. I use bloglines and (AND!) Sage for my "long term" RSS habit, and I have a couple of feeds popping up a spiffy Konfabulator widget when they're updated.

As far as RSS aggregators, none of them does what I want (though the Konfab widget comes closest).

I don't mean to threadjack (as if this thread isn't jacked enough), but, speaking of newsgroups, the new Google News makes my personal baby jesus cry.
posted by socratic at 10:10 AM on December 8, 2004

Reading feeds in an RSS reader is fine but I really enjoy seeing content/posts in the site design that they were intended to be viewed in. Does anyone else shy away from feed readers for this reason?
posted by rlef98 at 10:44 AM on December 8, 2004

Note to self: never, ever post to Metafilter again.

Go to McDonalds, eat a few big macs and get some fat on that thin skin of yours!
posted by Hands of Manos at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2004

rlef98: that's always been my big complaint with RSS readers. However, metafilter site design comes through in the Thunderbird RSS feed. Give it a try.

Hands of Manos: working at becoming thicker skinned. Prefer to do it through alcohol and cheesy poofs though.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2004

This is about to turn into a lovefest... soooo... mcstayinskool you SUCK! :) j/k.

RSS readers fall into the category of 'almosts' for me. They almost do what I want. But I can't articulate what it is that I want. Arg.
posted by socratic at 11:06 AM on December 8, 2004

not post-critiquing, but previous versions had this feature, too. to answer other questions, i've been using it for a while now, and i love it. it's where i get all my mefi :)
posted by blendor at 11:36 AM on December 8, 2004

I think the biggest problem with looking at metafilter for example through these feeds is that there seems to be a habit of choosing really poor titles that don't summarize the FPP.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:36 AM on December 8, 2004

I also can't seem to get the page views showing up in the message pane.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2004

... a habit of choosing really poor titles that don't summarize the FPP

It's regarded as sauce for the goose to have a cute titlebar. Unfortunately, that means that you get a cute but often indecipherable title on title-only aggregator listings. C'est la vie.
posted by lodurr at 1:21 PM on December 8, 2004

yeah socratic, I held-off d'loading Thunderbird because the Outlook calendar basically runs my life. I noticed that Thunderbird has a calendar function as well - but it's not compatible with the new 1.0 version - neither are any themes or any other extensions yet. So I d'loaded the calendar for Firefox and it's pretty good. This is all in my quest to become 100% MS free. I don't know what this RSS reader is though - sounds neat, I think.
posted by weezy at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2004

Reposted as the other thread seems to be quite superceded. Three Thunderbird questions, this time the short version:
How can I make Thunderbird open to the inbox instead of to the "Local Folders" page?
How can I make clicking the "Get messages" button actually do something? Right now I have to use the pulldown to get any visible response.
And, finally, is there a way to have a window/pop-up that shows "1 new message on 0 new on not responding." or somesuch helpful 'log' view instead of the millisecond-long flashes in the status bar?
posted by rafter at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2004

rafter: Maybe go to Ask? But as long as I'm responding...

1 - Select Tools > Options > General. In the section labeled "Thunderbird Start Page", un-check the box next to "When Thunderbird starts, ..."

2 - Don't know -- this is a little vague; it does sound a little like a problem that I have had with Moz Mail, but that problem doesn't survive restarts and goes away after I manually initiate a "check all" operation with the pull down. (FWIW, I only saw it on two pre-1.4 builds of Moz Mail and then it only happened after the app had been running for 6 hours or more.) One thought: It's checking for the account it's in, but not for all accounts. If there are no messages in the account that you've currently got in focus, you won't see anything but that fleeting status bar indicator you mention. Which brings me to ...

3 - Select Tools > Options > General. In the section labeled "When new messages arrive", check the box next to "Show an alert". That will cause a small popup in the lower right corner when Tbird biffs something. It will only pop up when Tbird is not in focus, though, so that may not be satisfactory for you.
posted by lodurr at 3:55 PM on December 8, 2004

posted by bonaldi at 4:01 PM on December 8, 2004

lodurr, thanks. I'm intimidated by Ask, and as long as it was on topic I figured it's better to bump this thread a bit then to post a whole new one over there. In any case, it turns out (of course) that there is a Thunderbird support forum over on the Mozilla website, so I'll take the discussion there. Thanks.
posted by rafter at 4:12 PM on December 8, 2004

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